The Flash: Season 3 Episode 20 review – I Know Who You Are
This review contains spoilers.
This was it; the episode that finally revealed Savitar’s identity. Opening with a flashforward scene in which Barry tells Savitar “I know who you are” (the title of this episode), the show then plodded slowly towards arriving at that scene, before finally unveiling Savitar’s identity. If you haven’t seen the episode yet, here’s another spoiler warning to stop reading here, because I’m about to discuss that reveal.
As with most of the reveals on this show, fans already make an assured guess as a collective, ahead of the ultimate unveiling. And in many instances those fans are collectively correct. Sometimes fans being correct is disheartening upon the reveal, because there is no surprise for the viewer, and sometimes it can be satisfying, despite that prior knowledge.
This was an example of the latter. Fans guessed a long time ago that Savitar was probably a future version of Barry. It was always a nice idea and one that I hoped the writers would go for. Episodes like ‘The Once and Future Flash‘ seemed to hint at it (not to mention Savitar himself telling us early on, as he pointed out this week) and three seasons in, the only way to truly elevate a villain reveal is to make that villain identity choice be something entirely out of the box, such as making it our primary hero.
Even though everyone had a rough idea that it was coming, I was still glad to see it happen. It’s a bold move that will no doubt make for an interesting final few episodes. Furthermore, future Barry’s appearance – after shedding the suit – wasn’t just the emo visage of the future Barry that we saw in the previous episode; instead it was a Barry with a severe burn on the right side of his face (Barry’s right, not ours).
It takes the notion of everyone’s greatest foe being themselves into literal territory. It also means that Barry not only has to stop Savitar, but he also now has to prevent himself from ending up becoming him. It also means that he is Iris’ killer, which is an astounding fact to consider, given how much Barry loves Iris at this current stage in his life.
Most villains – including ones we’ve seen come and go in this show – are out for themselves. We saw the Reverse Flash and the Legion of Doom alter reality (in Legends of Tomorrow) in order to place themselves in a better position and all three of them would do anything in order to profit personally. It’s a villain’s prerogative to be selfish and self-profiting, and it’s usually how they are presented.
It takes a different kind of villain altogether to be self-destructive. Future Barry wants nothing except to destroy and break his former self. That’s a goal with no real gain except a mutual self-destruction. It’s the kind of man who “simply wants to watch the world burn,” as Michael Cane’s Alfred once put it. It’s a scary kind of villain to face. And as our Barry pointed out – it’s a villain who literally knows everything about Barry, because he lived all of it.
So how do you beat someone who knows everything about you? It will be curious to see how Barry manages it. Most likely he will simply succeed in locking Savitar away, as Savitar himself reports is what happens, rather than eradicating him entirely or preventing himself from becoming Savitar. As I’ve said before, I think we’re in for a dark season closer, which will be nice to see.
Other than the big reveal, it was simply an episode about guarding the scientist who will enable Savitar’s capture (the Miles Dysen T2 reference was great), and about Joe’s dating dilemmas. It felt a little like the writers were confident enough in their big reveal that they felt they could play with less interesting plot threads in the interim.
It did allow us to see more Killer Frost though, including getting to witness her creating icy roads to glide through the city upon. Seeing her excel and grow as a villain is a merit to this show and I hope they keep advancing her darkness.
Most likely, The Nerd Recites won’t be covering The Flash next season (but I will always cover Supergirl). This isn’t because the show has grown bad (I will always keep watching) – it’s simply because I have other priorities that I would rather to cover. I will be seeing this season through to its close, however, so look out for the remainder of our The Flash Season 3 reviews.
Image credits: The CW